I've written before about the EMC Heritage Trust project, which provides grants to various institutions that wish to engage in digital preservation of locally valuable artifacts (see the list of 2012 grant recipients here).
In 2011 the Boole Library at University College Cork received a grant. This past week I just so happened to stop by the UCC campus for a research visit, and I was given an update on the state of the project (the scanned library is in the process of being shared via the web).
The best part of the update, however, included the invitation to walk down into the heart of the library and view the Boole papers themselves. The mathematical notes, textbooks, and quizzes that I saw were quite spectacular, but more impressive still were the handwritten notes to family members that described life in Cork at the tail end of the Great Irish Famine.
Out of all the Boole material that we were allowed to see, my favorite was the Laws of Thought, and I was allowed to photograph the title page of the book, which contained many of his handwritten notes:
As a software engineer that has spent a lot of his career leveraging the Boolean datatype, the visit to the library was certainly a great highlight of my research trip to Ireland (more on the research aspects of this trip in future posts).
George Boole had a rather binary view of the world: it all boils down to true or false. His work greatly influenced the digital explosion we're going through today.
Director, EMC Innovation Network